In anticipation of the upcoming election, Friends of Harford asked Harford County Candidates for County Executive and County Council to please respond to the following questions so that we may understand their perspectives and reasoning on land use issues. The candidates’ responses can be found here.
The term “Mixed Use” is the basic principle of integrating where we live, work and shop and allows for various configurations and densities.
The Harford County Zoning code §267-76, amended August 22, 2016 permits Mixed Use Centers* in every business, commercial and industrial zoning and in the high density R4 zoning. All that is required is 5 acres of land inside the development envelope with access to a primary road and access to public water and sewer. Except for rubble fills, every use permitted in B1, B2, B3, CI, GI, LI and R4 zoning districts are permitted in the Mixed Use District REGARDLESS OF THE UNDERLYING ZONING.
This means that properties intended to have low-intensity B1 zoning can be used at higher intensity, or for large commercial and industrial facilities, without public input, by establishing a Mixed Use District.
B1 Neighborhood Business District is intended to provide limited retail services convenient to residential neighborhoods near the permitted business. B1 has standards which are compatible with low-density residential districts.
We believe zoning code §267-76, should be amended to remove B1 areas from this use.
We believe it is wrong to allow high intensity, high impact, and high traffic industrial and business uses in what is supposed to be low-impact B1 zoning
(i.e., limited retail and service facilities for nearby residences). We believe Mixed Use Centers should not be allowed on properties zoned B1.
The concept of a mixed use center that creates a combination of business and residential uses and a reduction of vehicle miles traveled is a good concept. But Mixed Use Center should not enable developers to supersede low-intensity B1 zoning standards, in effect rezoning properties to higher intensity without public input.
We urge you to contact the County Council and ask them to amend the Zoning Code to remove Mixed Use Centers in B1 zoning districts.
*Mixed Use Centers are Special Development uses, meaning they are uses that are automatically allowed when they meet certain additional design requirements.
Review Harford County Zoning Code’s standards and descriptions HERE
Quickly compare the Uses permitted under different zoning, click HERE.
Allowable B1 zoning uses are on pages 18 and 19.